Borderlands is a space-western / sci-fi /open-world / action-RPG shooter looter pasta. It’s a unique formula that includes four main games, several campaign DLCs, two collections, a VR game, and various spin-offs.
Gearbox Software created the series, and 2K is the main distributor. Their work amounts to 25 Borderlands entries.
Table of Contents
Borderlands – 2009 (Main Series)
The original game debuted in 2009 for PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, and Mac OSX. A 4K/HDR remaster came out in 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
You choose one of four Vault Hunters to search a Vault on planet Pandora. The character fights his way across wildlife, outlaws, bandits, and two corporations for the alien treasure.
Borderlands introduced every element that makes the series unique: massive loot, the semi-open world design, cel-shaded graphics, and the oblivious CL4P-TP secondary character.
The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned – 2009 (Borderlands DLC)
The DLC takes players to a new area, Jakobs Cove, for a new questline. The goal is to investigate a crazy doctor behind a zombie infestation.
Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot – 2010 (Borderlands DLC)
The Underdome Riot features three arenas where players can fight increasingly difficult enemy hordes while introducing challenges like low gravity, no shield regeneration, or enemy health regeneration.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx – 2010 (Borderlands DLC)
The third DLC is about finding a secret armory with end-game loot. Meanwhile, General Knoxx is hunting for the player.
Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution – 2010 (Borderlands DLC)
The fourth DLC takes players to a new area to stop a robot revolution. It features a full of over-the-top storyline.
Borderlands 2 – 2012 (Main Series)
Borderlands 2 debuted in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3, Windows, and macOS. It’s also available for PS4, Xbox One, and PSVita. It has four playable characters plus two DLC characters.
The story is about defeating Handsome Jack, leader of the Hyperion Corporation. He secured the Vault, and he’s using its technology to rule Pandora. Four years passed since the original game, and there’re rumors of a new Vault.
New Vault Hunters come for the treasure, whereas the original protagonists remain in the world as NPCs. You help them hunt the Vault and defeat the villain in a game that respects and expands the original gameplay.
Borderlands Legends – 2012 (Spin-off)
Borderlands Legends was a squad-based top-down RPG mobile game that accompanies Borderlands 2. It debuted in 2012 for iOS devices, but it’s no longer available.
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty – 2012 (Borderlands 2 DLC)
The story introduces sand pirate captain Scarlett. She works with the Vault Hunter to find a Lost Treasure of the Sands. So, the DLC takes players to a vast desert.
Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage – 2012 (Borderlands 2 DLC)
The campaign takes players to a new Vault within the “Badass Crater of Badasstitude.” The content revolves around a tournament where the Hunter can win high-end explosive Torgue weapons.
Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt – 2013 (Borderlands 2 DLC)
The campaign follows Vault Hunters, alongside Sir Hammerlock, hunting for rare animals in Pandora. Meanwhile, a lonely scientist is trying to create a Handsome Jack clone.
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep – 2013 (Borderlands 2 DLC)
The last DLC puts the Vault Hunter inside a dark medieval-fantasy RPG, where you follow Tiny Tina’s tabletop storyline.
The gameplay is the same, but the enemies are ogres, wizards, skeletons, and other magical beasts. You fight evil forces with insane weapons (like sword-firing shotguns) as the crew deals with the loss of a particular character.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! – 2014 (Main Series)
The Pre-Sequel! debuted in 2014 for Windows, macOS X, Linux, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, and Xbox One. The story happens between Borderlands and Borderlands 2, and there’re four playable characters plus two add-on characters.
Jack leads a group of mercenaries to reclaim his base, sitting on Pandora’s moon Elpis. CL4-TP is one of these playable mercenaries.
The levels are intricate and creative. However, the gameplay is about the same, although it introduces zero-gravity areas.
Holodome Onslaught – 2014 (Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Expansion)
The post-launch campaign has a new challenge arena with several missions. It also added a New Game+ feature with a level 60 cap and additional assignments in the main story tied to the “Tales from the Borderlands” spin-off.
Tales from the Borderlands – 2014 – 2015 (Spin-off)
Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic interactive comedy adventure in the Borderlands universe. It has five episodes, and these debuted between 2014 and 2015 for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, PS3, PS4, Xbox 460, and Xbox One.
The gameplay follows a choice-driven narrative with branching paths and multiple endings. The plot happens between Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, but it features original characters.
You can play the game as either Rhys or Fiona. Each perspective may bring different choices, paths, and outcomes. Rhys wants to replace Handsome Jack as the leader of the Hyperion Corporation. Fiona, a con artist, is there to weasel their way out of trouble with gangsters, bandits, wildlife, and corporations.
Claptastic Voyage – 2015 (Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Expansion)
The second DLC follows a miniature version of the playable character going to Claptrap’s memories to retrieve a mysterious software. Gameplay-wise, the content introduced Glitch Weapons, which creates random effects on hits.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 2015 (Bundle)
The Handsome Collection debuted in 2015 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It includes the Definitive Version of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. That means it packs all of the available DLCs for both titles.
Additionally, the Collection improved split-screen co-op from two to four players. Other upgrades include high-definition visuals. Lastly, it has cross-save functionality.
Borderlands 2 VR – 2018 (VR Version)
Borderlands 2 VR brings back the looter shooter for VR headsets. The game is available for Windows (HTC Vive and Oculus Rift), and PlayStation VR.
The VR version adds a Slow-Mo ability to set up attacks and movement. Also, players can Teleport for added mobility.
Borderlands 3 – 2019 (Main Series)
Borderlands 3 debuted in 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, Windows, macOS, and Google Stadia. There’re also versions for Xbox Series and PS5, which includes free upgrades for old-gen owners. Then, The Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition includes the four available DLCs plus skins and weapons packs.
The new plot centers on four new Vault Hunters trying to stop the Calypso twins, a pair of new villains. The Crimson Raiders group (the original Vault Hunters) hired the heroes to contest the twins in the search for Vaults across the galaxy.
You explore the galaxy on a spaceship, Sanctuary III. It works as the game’s main hub, where you can talk to other NPCs, chill, select missions, and travel to planets. However, aside from new combat maneuvers, the gameplay is very similar, only much bigger.
Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot – 2019 (Borderlands 3 DLC)
The first Borderlands 3 DLC debuted in 2019 for the same platforms. The campaign is about stealing from an old Handsome Jack casino.
Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock – 2020 (Borderlands 3 DLC)
The following content focuses on Sir Hammerlock and Wainwright Jacobs. You must help them plan their wedding on a planet controlled by a dangerous cult.
Bounty of Blood – 2020 (Borderlands 3 DLC)
The plot takes players to a new planet, where the Vault Hunters defend a town from the Devil Raiders gang. The outlaws seek to control a leftover technology.
Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck – 2020 (Borderlands 3 DLC)
The 2020 DLC features Psycho Krieg, a DLC playable character from Borderlands 2. Researcher Patricia Tannis has been studying the mind of Pandora psychos, and Krieg became her guinea pig.
Vault Hunters must enter the psycho’s fractured mind to find the sickness, a pattern that infects every psycho.
Gameplay-wise, the plot is an excuse to deliver the craziest maps in the saga. That’s saying something. As a result, many areas are akin to Doom Eternal or Doom 2016. There’s plenty of platforming involved in every fight, action is fast-paced, and mobility is key for survival.
Borderlands Legendary Collection – 2020 (Bundle)
The Legendary Collection debuted in 2020 for Nintendo Switch. It bundles Borderlands: GoTY Edition, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The three games come with all available DLCs.
Co-op changes on the Nintendo Switch, though. The collection allows up to 2 players instead of 4 on a split-screen configuration.
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot Adventure – 2021 (Spin-off)
The One-Shot Adventure debuted in November 2021 for PS4, SP5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Windows. As a stand-alone game, it doesn’t need the Borderlands 2 copy to run.
This is the stand-alone experience of the Borderlands 2 DLC. However, it improves graphics and playability while adding more content.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderland – 2022 (Spin-off)
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands debuted in June 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Windows. It’s the second spin-off in the franchise, but it maintains the original gameplay.
Tina puts the character back into its tabletop fantasy, where she plays as the dungeon master. You create an avatar among six classes, but you can mix and match various skills to customize your playtime.
The arsenal includes melee weapons and firearms, so you will slash and shoot your way through dungeons and castles to stop the Dragon Lord.
All Borderlands Games in Order of Release Date
- Borderlands – 2009
- The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned – 2009
- Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot – 2010
- The Secret Armory of General Knoxx – 2010
- Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution – 2010
- Borderlands 2 – 2012
- Borderlands Legends – 2012
- Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty – 2012
- Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage – 2012
- Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt – 2013
- Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep – 2013
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! – 2015
- Holodome Onslaught – 2014
- Tales from the Borderlands – 2014 – 2015
- Claptastic Voyage – 2015
- Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 2015
- Borderlands 2 VR – 2018
- Borderlands 3 – 2019
- Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot – 2019
- Guns, Love and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock – 2020
- Bounty of Blood – 2020
- Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck – 2020
- Borderlands Legendary Collection – 2020
- Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot Adventure – 2021
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderland – 2022
Main Borderlands games are similar. Rather than adding layers and systems, developers simply refine the original formula. These are the elements:
Vault Hunters: Every game presents up to six Vault Hunters. These are your classes, as each has three unique skill pathways plus an ability they can modify and enhance with the skill points.
Loot System: The game features randomized loot mechanics like Diablo games. Weapons, armor, and throwables are procedurally-generated.
Weapon Brands: The series has about 12 weapon manufacturers, each one delivering special functionalities and quirks to their weapons.
Gameplay: The gameplay is about exploring a planet to search “Vaults” full of alien treasures. The journey includes action-adventure exploration, vehicle driving, leveling up, tons of loot, and shooting.
Storytelling: The story revolves around multiple gangs and interstellar corporations fighting for the treasure.
Tone: The general tone and art style is bombastic, over-the-top, explosive, and hilarious.
New Game+: New Game+ features allow you to play the campaign a second time with a bigger level cap, increased skill level cap, better loot, and higher challenges.
Multiplayer: Borderlands offers one of the best local co-op multiplayer experiences. It allows you to play the whole campaign with another player. It works offline (2 players) or online (up to four players).